I have the coolest birthday. Thanks Mom and Pop!

Having a birthday on Halloween has pretty much always been spectacular. I think there was only one year I didn’t wear a costume and it was because I was ill. This year was extra special. Since we now live in Austin, we took a gander at what 6th street had to offer. Of course, it did not disappoint! EVERYONE was in costume and the streets were filled with as many people as I can remember during a SxSW festival. So incredible! We even saw the goblin king (David Bowie) from The Labyrinth. 

I love you Alex! Thank you for making my birthday so special! I am so thankful for all of the sweet bday wishes from my family and friends. You are all so dear to me and I don’t know who I would be without you. Xoxoxo

Below are a few pics from the evening as well as some from earlier at the salon and my slice of vegan almond chocolate torte from Mother’s Cafe. 

 

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Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

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It’s been almost 3 months since we moved to our favorite city, Austin! I have had several moments when I stop and take a deep breath, look around and think, “Wow! I’m actually here!” Everything is just as wonderful and exciting as we thought it would be.  Alex was so lucky to be able to work from home with the same company he’s been with for a while now, based out of Norman.  I have spent the last twelve weeks doing absolutely no work (besides a couple visits to Oklahoma to see some clients at the studio) and I’ve loved every moment of it! I’ve been practicing a lot of yoga,  wakeskating, hiking, laying poolside, adventuring with Alex and Polly, paddleboarding, and checking out great local grocery stores and restaurants. Oh, and I bought a new car!

I truly believe that wherever you are in your life, no matter how busy, everyone should take a mini retirement. Take a month or two off of work. You find out a lot about yourself when you have no commitments. Even if it’s a staycation, don’t wait until your retirement age, do it now when you can enjoy it! It is a breathe of fresh air, let me tell you! When it’s time to return, you’ll be refreshed! I recently found a sweet little salon in northwest Austin called Bettie Bangs Salon. It’s been a week now and I’m settling in nicely with the ladies here. Come visit if you live in Austin!

Here are some new pics from the last few months and one of my new Subie Forester!image

Lake Austin

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We’re moving to Austin!

Only a month away from picking up and moving to Austin. After 4 years of wanting to do this, it is finally coming true, and then some! I get to have my best friend with me along for the adventure and he’s just as stoked as I am. Moving away also means leaving behind family, friends, yogi pals, coworkers and clients whom I love so dearly. I think everyone can understand though. You will all be getting lots of postcards in the mail from me! Love you all so stinking much! Xo

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive those bastards.”

-Edward Abbey

Meditation

Contemplate the divine qualities of the Paramount Divine Person: ingenious, ancient, the leader of all, subtler than a sub-atomic particle, the maintainer of everyone, amazingly beautiful, radiant like the sun and beyond all darkness. -Krishna

 

During yoga teacher training last weekend we focused on Meditation and Mettā. The quote above really resonated with me after reading this article from Elephant Journal. I have been reflecting on this while meditating at home. 

      Where Do You Want Your Yoga Practice to Take You? ~ Vic DiCara                

 

Bhagavad-Gita, Plain and Simple—Chapter Eight.

This is the twelfth installment of my Bhagavad-Gita series. You can find the previous discussion here.

Selecting Your Afterlife.

 Arjuna: I have some questions. You just mentioned “spirit,” “soul” and “karma.” What does each term mean? You also mentioned “the essential reality of every object,” “of every divinity” and “of every effort.” What are these three essential realities?

Krishna: “Spirit” is the supreme indestructible energy. “Soul” is the inherent essence of one’s being. “Karma” is what creates the causes behind all the situations that come into being.

“The essential reality of every object” is to disappear. “The essential nature of all divinities” is the Original Person. “The essence of all efforts” is me, Krishna.

Arjuna: You also mentioned that devoted souls attain the highest destination by being aware of you at the time of death. Can you explain this more thoroughly?

Krishna: Whatever state of mind you are in at the end of one lifetime determines the type of existence you attain in the next. So, one who remembers me in the final moments of casting off the body attains my own nature, without a doubt.

Arjuna: So, although I might think of anything and everything throughout my life, if even by chance I think of you at the time of death, then . . .

Krishna: That is impossible. At the moment of death only spontaneous, unstoppable thoughts will fill our mind. If you wish to attain me by remembering me at the time of death, you must practice doing so throughout every moment of your life. Enwrap your mind and intellect in me by living your life according to my instructions. Then you will attain me. Have no doubt about it. If you practice uniting your thoughts to me, without wandering to other topics, your thoughts will carry you to the Paramount Divine Person.

Arjuna: How should I practice thinking about you?

Krishna: Contemplate the divine qualities of the Paramount Divine Person: ingenious, ancient, the leader of all, subtler than a sub-atomic particle, the maintainer of everyone, amazingly beautiful, radiant like the sun and beyond all darkness.

Invest the power from your breathing into the area between your eyebrows, and keep these divine thoughts in your mind always, up till the very end. This yogic meditation will be very powerful because it is empowered by devotion. It will take you to the Paramount Divine Person.

Arjuna: I want to know more about this practice.

Krishna: Alright. I will summarize for you the spiritual practices followed by mystics who desire, to the exclusion of all other desires, to enter into what the wise describe as “imperishable.”

First you must take full control of all your senses—doorways to the external world. Then, confine your thoughts within your heart and focus the consciousness in your breath towards the top of your head.

While contemplating me, vibrate this single spiritual syllable: Om.

If you can practice this, even while casting off your body, you will attain the topmost goal.

Arjuna: What is the essence of this practice?

Krishna: Always remember me with undivided attention. If you do this, my friend, you will gain me quite easily.

Arjuna: What happens then?

Krishna: When you achieve me, you will never again achieve another birth in this house of suffering and impermanence. Your soul will blossom into the fullest perfection of the topmost achievements.

Arjuna: What’s wrong with taking another birth, for example in the heavens?

Krishna: Every heaven up to and including Brahma’s is a place from which you must again return. But when you come to me, Arjuna my cousin, you will never know another birth.

Arjuna: But many people think that heaven is eternal, and that Brahma never dies.

Krishna: The wise know that Brahma’s day lasts for a thousand ages, and so does his night. When his day begins, all the creatures of the world become manifest. When his night begins, they all dissolve again into a state called “unmanifest.” Again and again they dissolve with his dusk and awaken with his dawn.

Arjuna: Does he ever die?

Krishna: Yes, eventually the entire creation dissolves. What is eternal and imperishable, however, is beyond him. Beyond his destruction is a non-material reality. It is never destroyed, even when everything else is annihilated.

That place, described as “non-material and imperishable,” the supreme destination from which no one departs, that place is my supreme abode.

Arjuna: How can I attain that abode?

Krishna: Arjuna, that Supreme Person is attained only by love. Not just any love, but pure love—without any ulterior motive.

Arjuna: What inspires such purity of love, undeviated to any other person or thing?

Krishna: He is within the core of every person, and permeates everything we see. When one really knows this, how can one’s love ever be distracted from him?

Arjuna: [After a deep pause] You said that such people can attain a destination from which they never desire to return. Can you say more about that?

Krishna: I will describe the two paths by which departed spiritualists move towards and away from that destination. The path which leads to spirituality takes one past the gods of fire, light, daytime, the waxing moon and the northerly sun. The path which leads back from the lunar heavens takes one past the gods of smoke, night, the waning moon and the southerly sun. So, there have always been two paths for the departed soul: a bright one and a dark one. The bright path leads towards the spiritual goal from which there is no return. The dark path takes one back to rebirth.

A spiritualist who knows these two paths is never thwarted.

Arjuna: It seems there are many details I need to know, before I can find the right path.

Krishna: Try to be a yogi by uniting your heart to mine. That is all you really need to do. Such a yogi surpasses all the best results that can be obtained on any path, through philosophy, ritual, austerity, or charity and attains the original, paramount abode.

Fluffy Coconut Flour Pancakes

I have had this ferocious craving for pancakes lately and truly do not remember the last time I had them. Maybe when I was a child? So, for breakfast this weekend I put together some most awesome gluten and sugar free blueberry pancakes! They taste better than traditional pancakes believe it or not. 

Know of another great recipe? Please send it my way :)

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Coconut Flour Pancake Ingredients

  • 5 eggs (free range if possible)
  • 1 cup of homemade applesauce (readers have verified that store bought (no sugar added!) and fresh raw applesauce also work)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (plus a little more if you need it to thicken)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Cinnamon  to taste (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • favorite add-ins and toppings of choice (we like adding blueberries and topping with butter or homemade cream)
  • 2 T honey (optional)

How to Make Coconut Flour Pancakes

  1. Heat large skillet or pancake griddle
  2. Mix all ingredients except any add-ins with blender, whisk or immersion blender and let sit 5 minutes to thicken.
  3. Add berries, bananas, or other add-ins and mix by hand
  4. Grease griddle or skillet with coconut oil or butter
  5. Use a 1/4 cup measure to spoon pancakes onto cooking surface
  6. Cook approximately 2-3 minutes per side until it bubbles and is easy to flip. These do take a little longer than “regular” pancakes, so don’t rush them!
  7. Top with butter (it makes everything better!) and enjoy!

Crested Butte Snowboard Trip!

Last year, Alex and I decided it would be a great idea take a Colorado shred trip after only a month of dating. Turned out to be the best idea! We had such a great time we wanted to celebrate our year anniversary at Crested Butte again. We went the day after opening day (November 23rd), so only about 15% of the mountain was open. Nevertheless, we had a blast! Here are some pics of us. Love this guy to the moon!